Indian bean tree seed pods. Getty Images

Catalpa bignonioides

Indian bean tree

  • Botanical name: Catalpa bignonioides
  • Common name: Indian bean tree
  • Family: Bignoniaceae
  • Plant Type: Tree
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


Catalpa bignonioides (Indian bean tree) is native to southeastern parts of the United States – the ‘Indian’ part of its name relates to the botanical name Catalpa, after the native American (Red Indian) tribe, Catawba.


Catalpa bignonioides grows into a large, domed tree up to 12m in height, though it typically reaches 6-8m over 50 years in Britain. Highly ornamental, it’s grown in the UK for its large, heart-shaped leaves, masses of white, horse chestnut-like flowers and long (up to 45cm) runner bean-like pods.


Grow Catalpa bignonioides in a sheltered spot in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. It’s perfect for growing as a focal point in a lawn or at the back of a mixed border, and it makes an excellent summer shade tree.

Advice on buying Catalpa bignonioides

This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

  • Catalpa bignonioides may be available from your locak garden centre, but you’ll find a wider range online or from specialist nurseries
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting

Where to buy Catalpa bignonioides

How to grow Catalpa bignonioides

  • Plant size

    120m height

    800m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full shade
  • Hardiness: Frost hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist

Catalpa bignonioides and wildlife

Catalpa bignonioides is known for attracting bees.

Attractive to Bees

Does not attract Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Does not attract Butterflies​/​Moths

Does not attract Other pollinators

Is Catalpa bignonioides poisonous?

Catalpa bignonioides has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People